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Resources for creating your company’s social media policy

Social media should be a part of every company’s communications strategy. Even if the strategy includes deliberately avoiding a particular platform, such as a B2B cloud computing company opting not to create a Facebook fan page, social media has matured to the point that it can’t be ignored. With the scope of social media now ranging from Twitter to blogger relations, every company is involved one way or another.

Likewise, a social media policy is a must for any business. Far too often, companies fail to create a policy because they assume that employees will practice common sense–but that simply means different things to different people. Take any two smart, logical employees with the company’s best interests in mind and they may have very different approaches to using social media. Furthermore, as social media creeps from public relations/marketing territory into the domain of customer service, human resources and sales, a set of guidelines needs to be established in writing.

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While a social media policy offers no guarantee against a mistake, it can go a long way toward avoiding a serious debacle. Everyday issues, such as multiple employees creating LinkedIn groups or unofficial Twitter handles in your company’s name, can be better managed with a policy in place. At minimum, you should outline what your company is trying to achieve on social media, who is responsible for its management and a standard for content. You should also give employees guidance about how they can talk about your company on their own social media profiles. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that this document will probably be outdated as soon as you finish writing it. Be prepared to update frequently as the social media landscape changes.

With so much already written about social media policy, I thought it would be helpful to collect some of the best resources around the web for your policy-creation pleasure. 
 
The database of 177 social media policies on Social Media Governance gives you an invaluable peek behind the curtain at many major companies’ social media policies.
 
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association offers a Digital Social Media and Endorsement Policy template.
 
PRWeek has published a series on Social Media Policy with topics ranging from the importance of brevity to tailoring your policy.
 
Once your policy is created, check out Mashable’s article on how to get your employees on board.
 
Please share any links you’ve found helpful in the comments to keep this list growing.
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